Diabetes could cost Wakefield economy “at least £60m”, says report

​Date: 02/09/2014
Ref: PR 4689

Preventing, identifying and treating diabetes should be a priority in the Wakefield district, the Council’s Cabinet will hear next week.

A report discussed by councillors put the cost of diabetes care in Wakefield and surrounding areas at £11.8m but says that when the cost of treating complications as a result of the disease are added, the cost could be as high as £20-26m.

The report stated that if indirect economic costs, such as being absent from work, early retirement and social benefits, are added, the total cost of the disease to the local economy was estimated to be “at least £60m.”

The Council’s Cabinet agreed that its Health and Wellbeing Board should discuss the matter further in order to agree a course of action, and that the issue should be closely monitored, with a report taken to the relevant scrutiny committee in six months’ time.

Speaking about the report, Councillor Betty Rhodes, Chair of the Adults and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “Our report has identified some excellent care, but there are areas for improvement, from access to education when people are diagnosed, right the way through to the care they receive in hospital.

“In a time of decreasing budgets yet increasing numbers of people affected, we must focus our efforts on education, prevention and management of diabetes and try to minimise the costly complications that can occur.”
Councillor Pat Garbutt, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Diabetes is often a silent and stealthy disease, and lots of money is spent on treating it. It can cause some awful complications and these come at a cost, both to the people suffering and their families, as well as to our local economy.

“In the last few years there has been a rapid rise in people suffering from the disease – and in people who have diabetes or pre-diabetic symptoms without knowing it. We now need to focus more of our efforts on awareness and prevention of this illness.”

The report highlights that 79% of the £11.8m spent on diabetes care in the Wakefield district goes on complications – many of which are preventable. It also shows that just 2% is spent on prevention and health promotion.

But it also identified some areas of good and excellent practice – such as the redesigned diabetes service – and suggested areas for improvement, such as the consistency of care given by GP surgeries across the area.